In 1997, Sondra Bernstein opened the doors to the first girl & the fig restaurant, showcasing her love of locally grown ingredients and her passion for French food. She named her restaurant for the fruit that symbolizes passion: the fig. Now with three restaurants in Sonoma County and with chef John Toulze at the helm, the girl & the fig restaurants are not only local favorites but also captivate thousands of visitors every year.
In "the girl & the fig Cookbook: More than 100 Recipes from the Acclaimed California Wine Country Restaurant, " Bernstein offers an inspired collection of simple, yet sophisticated recipes from the restaurant, featuring the finest, freshest ingredients. These are restaurant-quality recipes adapted for the home kitchen, with dishes for beginners as well as experienced cooks. Bernstein brings the culinary traditions of France to the California wine country.
The author's devotion to seasonal ingredients is wonderfully apparent in every recipe -- from the savory appetizers, soups, salads, and large plates to the innovative desserts. Starters such as Heirloom Tomato Gazpacho, Cauliflower Gruyere Soup, Shrimp and Salmon Cakes, and Grilled Asparagus Salad with Lemon-Thyme Vinaigrette make the most of the region's bounty. Large plates such as Grilled Salmon with Lavender Beurre Rouge, Pan-Seared Scallops with Orange-Tarragon Beurre Blanc, Wild Mushroom Risotto, and Grilled Pork Chops with Apple Cider Sauce make wonderful main courses, while French classics like Coq au Vin and Duck Confit with Lentils, Applewood Smoked Bacon, and Cabbage will comfort you on a cold winter's night. Side dishes that can complement a large plate or be eaten alone include Braised Fennel, Citrus Pearl Couscous, Apple-Yam Gratin, and buttery Basil-Scented Potato Cakes. Bernstein's desserts range from the sinfully scrumptious (Chocolate Pots de Creme and Lavender and Wildflower Honey Creme Brulee) to the unique (Roasted Figs with Honey and Vanilla Ice Cream and Warm Fig and Thyme Crisp with Fig Syrup).
With gorgeous photographs throughout, "the girl & the fig Cookbook" also offers tips on wine pairings, highlighting California wines inspired by the Rhone Valley; imaginative ideas for aperitifs, charcuterie platters, and cheese plates; detailed sidebars on ingredients (including Bernstein's favorite food -- the fig ); and brief glimpses of the author's favorite artisan food purveyors.
This is country food with a French passion, perfect for a casual dinner or a formal dinner party. Let "the girl & the fig Cookbook" bring a taste of California to your kitchen.
Karen MacNeil wine consultant and author of The Wine Bible In the girl & the fig Cookbook, Sondra Bernstein perfectly captures the simple lusciousness of wine country cooking. Inspiring, soulful, and full of tempting flavors, this is a cookbook guaranteed to make you want to drop everything and go cook.
Anthony Dias Blue Wine and Spirits Editor, Bon Appetit magazine; host of the nationally syndicated radio show The Lifestyle Minute If you can't manage to be in Sonoma during harvest this year, the next best thing is to have Sondra Bernstein's delicious book by your side. Her flavorful food is intelligently crafted and allows the true flavors of fresh, seasonal ingredients to shine through. These hearty, rustic recipes epitomize the richness and intensity of the wine country experience.
John Ash internationally recognized chef, educator, author, and one of the creators of California Wine Country Cuisine I've dined at the girl & the fig many times over the past few years. I love the food and atmosphere that Sondra has created, and John's cooking is a hallmark of what great food should be: approachable and full of flavor. The cookbook is the same, and both beginner as well as seasoned cooks will find lots of tasty treasures in it.
Kathleen Hill coauthor of Sonoma Valley -- The Secret Wine Country Sondra Bernstein is the earthmother of Sonoma Cuisine. With contributions from John Toulze, the best self-taught chef anywhere, Sondra's the girl & the fig Cookbook is the earthmother of wine country cookbooks!
Marie Simmons author of The Good Egg and Fig Heaven: 70 Recipes for the World's Most Luscious Fruit Like Sondra and her restaurant, the girl & the fig Cookbook is lively, fun, and lovable.